As I'm reading my friend's INCREDIBLE book, "Looking For Lovely," little memories over my lifetime spark into my mind. Some lovely, some not so lovely, but I've noticed that these memories and times seem like a completely different life time for me, which feels strange, like a different Ainsley lived them. I also know how important they were in shaping who I've become, so I guess I am a different Ainsley than who lived the sparked memories from age 3 to even yesterday.
Often times I have very, very vivid dreams. So vivid that I forget which was a dream and which was reality, but I'm pretty sure the memory I'm going to share was real...I think...Maybe....
All I wanted when I was growing up was to fit in with the guys. My Uncle Sutton was 3 years older than me so I looked up to him like crazy, even though he dared me to eat syrup on a pickle and told me that bruises were poop under your skin... and Blake, my mom's best friend's son who I consider a cousin (because everyone in Louisiana is your cousin) was a year older than me, so I even though he never let me win any game and would complain when he had to come over to our house, I wanted desperately for them to accept me. I liked sports, but didn't know quite enough about them to engage in the conversation. I couldn't even relate with them on a pizza level, because I hated it due to a Kraft cheese commercial trauma when I was 5. They made us eat so much pizza through so many takes, that I was done for the next 12 years. (Don't worry, I like it again. I live in NYC for crying out loud). I fought all of my glitter loving, Jesse McCartney obsessed instincts to fit in, but I didn't make the cut. I still hear Sutton's jingle he made before I was allowed to shave my legs. (Sing this to the tune of "Wanna Be A Balla") He sang, in a car full of his friends, "Wanna be a monster, named Ainsley, 20 inch hairs on her le-egs." 13 year old boys are the worst.
So, on one hand, I looked up to the older boys and when I looked down, I was SURROUNDED by girls. My two younger sisters (with one that would come a year after this memory) Madison and Gracie, Mckenzie and Bailey, who were other "cousins," My real cousins, Anna, Emily, Delaney and the list goes on. As the oldest female in a gaggle of gals, there's a lot of pressure to perform. As a 15 year old trying to figure out what hormones were and WILL I LAND MY BACK HAND SPRING AT THE PEP RALLY IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE SCHOOL!?!?! I had to constantly evaluate which little eyes were following me and what I was doing to shape their view of a big sister/cousin. Here lies the pressure to be perfect and not make mistakes. One of the many lies I believed.
My mom and I stood outside of Moe's house (Mckenzie's mom) as she scolded me for being on my Nokia playing "Snake" the whole time we were over there instead of engaging with the kids. She looked at me and said, "You know, there's going to be a reason for all of these little girls looking up to you. God made it that way for a reason." To that I replied,"But I HATE girls!!" And my mom, being my mom, said, "Well, get over it."
Turns out, like most lessons I've learned in my adult life, she was right. The more younger girls I meet, the more my entire heart latches on to them and doesn't let go, wishing they would learn from my mistakes, which I made PLENTY of so JUST ASK BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING DUMB. I've already tripped over that log, don't do it again for goodness sake! But I seem to be a better big sister to strangers because Madison doesn't speak to me due to an ex boyfriend of hers who was the bleeping worst painting a distorted image of me in her head and the rest of the gaggle are great, but I suck at keeping up with them because high school life is so hard to keep track of! I still love them all and my heart expanded, as God intended through Unveiled, to SO many young girls. It may sound silly, but as Mom & God proved, I feel a calling as a big sister. I'm not perfect, but I've made the mistakes already and I'm happy to share the lies I believed, how I overcame them and why just because a guy likes you, doesn't mean you have to date him...
P.S.- My devotional that should be coming out this summer, is dedicated to all of my little sisters in the world, xo.